Dear Judge McCoy,
You may not know this but there is a constant battle over the rights of animal advocates, rescuers, homeowners and feral cat colony managers vs. the LA Animal Cruelty Task Force, and the latter's focus on busting and jailing people who have too many cats.
The ACTF was tasked with stopping animal cruelty cases, such as cock and dogfighting rings and abuse of animals in LA City.
Instead, it has focused on arresting and seizing animals of those who have too many cats and dogs. One ACTF member, Officer Munez, told me that animal "hoarding" was the Task Force's biggest problem, while another person who called the task force and complained that someone was poisoning neighborhood cats was told that even if a necropsy were performed, and poisoning was found, the Task Force did not have the manpower to investigate.
Apparently though they do have the manpower to raid little old ladies or men who have too many cats (article by Dana Bartholomew, Daily News).
Neither the little old ladies nor this man mentioned below have weapons as might persons in a cockfighting ring. Also, little old lady residents don't tend to move around to thwart being discovered as would dog fighting rings.
The specific case I have in mind is that of Ron Mason who was arrested for felony animal neglect for having too many cats on his property. The head of the Task Force at that time was Lt. Boswell, who admitted during a television interview that Mr. Mason had provided food, water and shelter. Mason had also provided medical care.
The District Attorney refused to press felony charges and the City Attorney refused to file misdemeanor animal neglect charges. Mr. Mason was not even charged, let alone tried for violation of LA MC 53.50, violation of the Kennel ordinance of having more than three cats.
51 cats were seized and about 30 killed at the shelter. Several cages, carriers and traps were also seized as he used them to trap and transport the cats to be spayed or neutered, or to a veterinarian to receive medical attention. Medications were also seized.
City TV 35 filmed the raid and at least five agencies were involved. Dana Bartholomew was present from the Daily News. Mason was arrested and jailed.
A very brief list of evidence supplied by the police listed only the medications. No cats, no traps, carriers or cages.
The head of Animal Services, General Manager Ed Boks, said about Mr. Mason in the Bartholomew article as well as on the LAAS website, that Mr. Mason was a felon and mentally ill. He also stated that conditions of probation would forbid him from having any pets. In many ways other ways, Mr. Boks, GM or LAAS, defamed Mr. Mason.
Mr. Mason recently went to Small Claims Court to obtain finances to buy new carriers, traps and cages to continue to trap and transport animals to be altered. As he does not have an operational car, he has been forced to transport the animals on buses. Without traps and carriers, the cats not seized during the October 11, 2007 raid have begun to multiply again, making him subject to further raids by the ACTF and Animal Services. Mr. Mason is unemployed and on disability. Buying a car, traps and carriers therefore was not an option.
Yesterday Mr. Mason and three other of us went before Commissioner Martin Green with Mason suing the City and Animal Services for the financial loss of 51 cats, cages, traps, carriers and medications.
As you are Commissioner Green superior, I want you to know what happened while in Green’s courtroom.
The following is a transcript of that hearing as accurately as the four of us are able to piece together. The below transcript was deemed by us to be completely accurate. The below was posted on by blog, www.laanimalwatch.blogspot.com.
I have covered this case for over a year as it is extremely important with respect to anyone who has more than three cats or dogs in the City, which is several thousand people, who are terrified of being raided, having their animals seized and killed.
This case even affects many people who foster cats given to them by Animal Services to care for prior to returning to the City shelters for adoption, and therefore have many more than three cats.
The entirety of the Mason case can be found at:
Animal Services has been attempting to raise the limit of cats allowed to 10. Animal Services has also supported legalizing Trap/Neuter/and Spay (of ferals). They are now doing a CEQA study to present to Council.
Therefore, their actions, in conjunction with the ACTF and the police pose a bewildering inconsistency and/or hypocrisy by the City, Animal Services and the ACTF regarding MC 53.50 the kennel law, as well as what constitutes animal neglect.
Tamie Bryant at UCLA is familiar with all of these issues.
From my blog:
The Death Knell for Justice for LA Animal People Has Been Rung